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Janet S. Fink, Heidi M. Parker, Martin Brett, and Julie Higgins

In the current article, we extend the literature on fan identification and social identity theory by examining the effects of unscrupulous off-field behaviors of athletes. In doing so, we drew from both social identity theory and Heider’s balance theory to hypothesize a significant interaction between fan identification level and leadership response on fans’ subsequent levels of identification. An experimental study was performed and a 2 (high, low identification) × 2 (weak, strong leadership response) ANOVA was conducted with the pre to post difference score in team identification as the dependent variable. There was a significant interaction effect (F (2, 80) = 23.71, p < .001) which explained 23% of the variance in the difference between prepost test scores. The results provide evidence that unscrupulous acts by athletes off the field of play can impact levels of team identification, particularly for highly identified fans exposed to a weak leadership response. The results are discussed relative to appropriate theory. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are also forwarded.

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Lauren Reichart Smith and Kenny D. Smith

This case study, using social-identity theory as a framework, examines how sport consumers and producers used different identifiers to engage in conversation during the final games of the 2012 College World Series of baseball. Five major hashtags were noted for each baseball team as primary identifiers; users fit in 3 main groups and subgroups. The analysis of tweets revealed 5 major themes around which the conversations primarily revolved. The study has implications for social-identity theory and team identification, as well as broader implications for audience fragmentation and notions of the community of sport.

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Patrick Ferrucci and Edson C. Tandoc

This study experimentally tested whether White participants (N = 274) applied stereotypes to Black and White professional quarterbacks. Using common stereotypical descriptors established in prior research, this between-subjects experiment found that while the participants did not stereotype White quarterbacks, they did apply the stereotypes of “physically strong” and “naturally gifted” to Black quarterbacks, thus othering, or using race to establish an out group. These results are interpreted through the framework of social-identity theory.

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Brendan Dwyer, Greg Greenhalgh, and Carrie LeCrom

The sport marketplace is overcrowded, and contemporary sport fans have more choices than ever. This makes it difficult for new teams, leagues, and sports to enter the marketplace. In addition, a cultural oligarchy of mainstream sport leagues currently dominates media coverage. As a result, marketers and managers of emerging sports need to understand the attributes for which sport fans connect with entities. Little is known, however, about the differences between fans of niche (emerging or nonmainstream) sports and their mainstream-sport counterparts. Guided by social-identity theory, this study explored the dispositional and behavioral differences between niche- and mainstream-sport fans as a means of psychometric and behavioral segmentation. In particular, an individual’s need for uniqueness and communication behaviors were compared. The results suggest that dispositional differences between the segments were minimal. However, potentially important behavioral differences were uncovered related to how sport fans assimilate with others and advertise their sport affiliations.

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Douglas L. Mendenhall

In an introductory undergraduate media course, Super Bowl XLIX was used as a hands-on vehicle to introduce students to the discipline of mass-media research. From a week before and after Super Bowl XLIX, 269 original blog posts and 91 sets of appended comments from Web sites devoted to the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots were analyzed for significant differences using Diction 7.0, a common word-counting program that measures tone in dozens of ways. More than a dozen variations found in the blog messages are used to describe a “team tone” unique to Seahawks blogs and another unique to Patriots blogs. Some elements of these team tones are present across all messages, while others existed only before the game was played or arose only after New England’s dramatic win in the closing moments. Postgame variations include greater optimism in the tone of New England Patriots bloggers and greater hardship and denial in the tone of Seattle Seahawks bloggers. Results are discussed from the perspective of social-identity theory.

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Samuel D. Hakim

similarities can include personality traits and work ethic. People see athletes as both hero and as celebrity—both of which carry social desirability that fans strive to either have or be affiliated with ( Billings & Brown, 2017 ; Fontenrose, 1968 ). Social Identity Theory and Fan Identity Social identity

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Tanya McGuane, Stephen Shannon, Lee-Ann Sharp, Martin Dempster, and Gavin Breslin

to study how athletes’ identity formation, and hence group behavior, is influenced by social processes is social-identity theory (SIT; Tajfel, 1982 ). SIT assesses the formation of identity, based on membership in a social in-group. When individuals perceive personal value in subscribing to in

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Andrew C. Billings, Nathan A. Towery, Sean R. Sadri, and Elisabetta Zengaro

. Finally, the study uncovers whether sport hyper-affinity correlates with political and religious hyper-affinity as well. Related Literature At its core, social identity theory ( Tajfel & Turner, 1985 ) is not merely focused on the in-groups and out-groups in which one may intrinsically (e

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Bastian Popp, Chris Horbel, and Claas Christian Germelmann

context of team sport—more specifically in European football. (We use the term football throughout this paper when referring to soccer.) Adopting a social-identity-theory approach ( Tajfel & Turner, 1979 ), this research aimed to study how antisponsor communities influence football fans and their self

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Maurice Vergeer and Leon Mulder

). Group identity can be interpreted in line with social-identity theory ( Tajfel, 1982 ). In particular, identity formation in combination with the struggle for scarce goods (i.e., win or lose, cf. Blalock’s realistic conflict theory, 1967 ; cf. LeVine & Campbell, 1972 ), creates an ingroup